Illinois Film Office Chooses Reel-Scout

One of Bob Hudgins’ last acts as deputy director of the Illinois Film Office was assuring that the state’s vast collection of 25,000 location photos wouldn’t languish in the files but would go online for widespread use.

Towards that end, the IFO is in the process of signing with Reel-Scout™, a Charlotte, N.C. technology and consulting company that developed a system exclusively for film commissions.

When the contract is approved, Illinois will join 14 other film commissions that utilize Reel-Scout™ to implement and manage its library and, perhaps, like the state of Maryland, will promote it as an asset to filming in the state.

The new IFO locations feature should be up-and-running within one month of signing the contract. Locations librarian Lisa Banks will oversee the new system.

Of the approximately 25,000 photos on its library, about 12,500 were scanned into a system the IFO purchased about five years ago. The IFO staffer whose job it was to scan the photos was let go when the new administration came in, unaware of the role a locations library plays in solidifying business.

The IFO’s model is designed for larger film offices with devoted IT resources, said Edward Henegar, co-founder of the five-year old systems and consulting firm.

As presently outlined, the IFO Web site will have a link connecting to Reel-Scout™. If designed like other states with searchable representative images on-site, the IFO library’s will be accessible by password. (For an example, see and click onto the red crab in the lower left corner.)

“Reel-Scout™ is built as an internal system for film offices. It is accessible to the internal staff, and accessible to others, such as location scouts or producers through a password,” Henegar said. “The system is very flexible and can be set up in any way that works best for the film office.”

The film office will have full access to the system to upload and publish the existing images and to replace existing ones.

“Packages can be quickly put together for inquiries,” noted Reel-Scout™ partner Wendi Le, who’s in charge of technology.

“Once the package is sent out, the office can track the project, if it’s a feature or documentary, and can track the life of the project. The dates of scouting, production, post and other factors also help track the economic factors,” she said.

A film office can also rebrand the name, commented Henegar. The Texas film office decided to call its library TexScout.